Monday, July 20, 2009

Lessons from a Selvedge

My blogpal Curmudgeon,, puts a warning at the front of his sports-related posts. With that same sense of fair play, I offer the warning here that this post is about knitting, or at least includes scenes of knitting that some people may find uninteresting. As if to make my point, in the corner of the photo above, you can see my husband nodding off. Nodding off or running off seem to be common reactions by husbands to their wive's knitting. I learned just how true that was on a trip to the Isle of Skye. I actually wanted his opinion, which he is usually only too eager to share, on which yarn to buy for my daughter. I thought he was right behind me when I went into the store. When I turned, he had vanished. The store owner was not the least surprised. "I see it all the time," she explained.

I did not worry about the vanishing act until I could not find him in the car park, the store, or along the streets. He had wandered off and become involved in a conversation with a man from Australia, perhaps as an antidote to having crossed the threshold of a knitting store. The episode taught me three important things: 1. opinions are more fun for him when they are not asked for 2. anything he does not like he assumes will take enormous amounts of time and 3. he expects me to know what is in his mind, and hence, where he is.

This piece of knitting is lying in the sitting room because that is where I usually do the finishing stitches--hemming, darning in loose ends of whatever project I'm working on. I stitched up one sleeve last night. Tonight I'll do the other one. When my husband sleeps, I get the remote and switch the channel to one of my favourites--knitting along to Hercule Poirot or Agatha Christie is great. Sherlock Holmes is a distant third.

The lovely soft blue yarn (Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran-- 85%wool, 10% silk, 5% cashmere, Colour 137 Empire) I bought on a trip back to my favourite knitting store in Westfield, Indiana--Stitches and Scones. On that trip I was alone and so I had all the time I needed to linger over the yarn and swap stories with other knitters. I bought so much yarn on that trip that it had taken a long time before I started knitting with this yarn and even longer before I came to the stitching up stage. Along the way I learned (and subsequently forgot) how to do the decorative edging stitch from one of the Nicky Epstein books (On the Edge, Over the Edge, Beyond the Edge). I got one of those books from the library and probably made a photocopy of the stitch instructions somewhere. As I pack up my craft supplies and UFOs (unfinished objects), those things that were set aside for sometime are propelled into the now.

Some projects have been finished and sent to a nearby craft shop for sale (and some of them have even been sold!).

Saturday we had our monthly Stitch N Blether meeting. For two (or is it three years? we could not remember when we talked about it Saturday), a handful of us have been meeting and knitting and talking. Over that time we have come to know each other as knitters and as people. So when I pulled out the blue jumper pieces on Saturday and explained that I had one sleeve separate and one attached to my would-be shrug, they laughed knowing full well that I would start out on something and change my mind mid stream. When I fretted about stitching the pieces, they all knew that I had an aversion to what I think of as fiddly bits. Knowing this, they would not let me put the hapless piece back in the bag for another time. And so with great good humour and patience, I got the knowledge and the support to do the first hard thing, attaching the orphan sleeve.

Now intact, the pieces of the shrug had to be cajoled into place. Stocking stitch can curl back upon itself. To get a smooth edge and the proper dimensions, these stitches have to be trained flat. A steam iron and a damp cloth is usually enough for that, but these stitches had been left to their own devices for too long. I had to press them repeatedly, and finally, one especially recalcitrant edge had to be dampened and pinned in place--that edge looking like a mini fence row with pins every two or three stitches securing it the cover of the ironing board.

As I worked over the selvedge edges, I could not help but think of a familiar phrase up here. Someone is said to be "turned in on him/herself" when they have become isolated, withdrawn, and usually so ingrained that change of any kind is not welcome. We all get a case of it from time to time, which made me even more grateful for my Stitch n Blether companions who did not give up after the first gentle pressure with a steam iron.

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At 2:29 PM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

Sales! Wonderful! I can't wait to see some of your creations that haven't been taken to shops to be sold.

At 10:15 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

Oh it will be great fun sharing things with you. As you can well imagine, they all have stories associated with them.
I got some sad hard but not unexpected news re my brother et al. I'll talk more when we have a better time/place for it.


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